Hi all, I'm hoping for some help with a problem with damp in the ground floor back bedroom of my rented flat. It's a bit of a saga but I'll try to keep it as brief as I can.
We've lived here more than 3 years, and when we moved in there was a small vent in a boxed in ledge (brick on top and hollow) that runs down the lower half of a right exterior wall. It had a big damp patch surrounding it. To rectify this problem the vent was removed by a builder who said it was unnecessary, and also s vent into an old chimney on the back wall. It didn't help the problem. Another builder claimed it was because the boxed in ledge was full of rubble. Removing the rubbish and rubble didn't help. So we just lived with it a while, but now we periodically get tiny 5p size dots of damp all over the back wall. If we clean the wall they disappear but reappear in very wet weather. We have also had damp around the pvc window for sometime. The landlords builders chipped out the plaster not once but twice (the first time they didn't let it dry out before plastering or the plaster dry before painting). They also put on a layer of insulated plaster board to the right wall for the damp where the vent used to be and then skimmed over it (to warm up the room they said!) They never checked the windows seal until now (a year on of me complaining). The seal was v poor so has had new sealant put on outside along the two sides and bottom, but the old not removed first. Every time it rains the wall gets visibly wetter and today after a lot of rain the tide mark is even higher and the paint has bubbled freshly.
Through all of this my landlord has maintained that the cause is ours and its condensation (apparently there's a lot of us breathing...). We don't get condensation on the window. I'm at a loss for what to suggest as work only gets carried out if i push the issue. The builder that removed the exterior vent said the roof on the gable end (back wall) doesn't have any overhang as it should (or something...). There is no insulation and no damp proof course as its old, though one of he builders said that wasn't an issue, though obviously I can't see ego to trust!
Anyway, sorry for the length. Any ideas. Is the speckled damp on the back wall linked to the damp window? What should I try to get the landlord to do? Thanks
There can be many different causes of damp and due to the fact that you mentioned that you do not get condensation buildup on the window may suggest that the window is still not sealed correctly (can you feel any draughts?). In situations where condensation is present, ventilation and temperature control are normally the key solutions, but due to the lack of this issue I think we can push this down the list of potential causes, although the vents that have been remove, I would say, was not a good idea as natural ventilation is still a good idea.
In terms of the roof you mention that there is no overhang - Is it a flat roof? Is there guttering present? If not, then if water is allowed to consistently run down the wall then this would certainly look like the cause of visible damp and the tide marks you mentioned.
Additionally, what position is the tide mark on the wall? Is it close to the ground (around a metre up the wall), half way up, on or near the chimney breast? If only part way up the wall from the base, the fact that you mentioned there is no damp course may be a sign of rising damp.
Without any images or site visits, it’s a little hard to suggest any concrete causes but the above info might be worth looking at. We also have a vast array of damp related projects on the website that may be worth a read through to familiarise yourself with some of the common causes of damp: http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/diy-how-to-type/damp.htm
Also, we work closely with a company called Property Repair Systems that have a great deal of knowledge in all aspects of damp so it may be an idea to give them a call. They offer free, no obligation advice. You can call them on: 01626 336 180
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